The Tuesday after Easter and a knock on the door. I was hibernating with a bad cold and considered ignoring it. If it was a delivery, they’d slip a note through the letterbox and I could deal with it later. But I sneezed and felt conspicuous, so I hauled myself to my feet.
I should have been up anyway. There was a lot to do. The week before, our landlords let us know they were selling the house and, though we could have waited a month or two for their sale to finalize, this story was only going to end one way. A few days later, we were viewing new homes. With time on our side, we could find somewhere in the neighbourhood. Hopefully somewhere familiar for our kids commuting to school and somewhere within the same rent bracket. It would be change, but not drastic change.
It didn’t take long – much less time than we’d anticipated. Suddenly we were the other side of Easter and scrambling to get everything packed for a midmonth move. There were dismantled things everywhere and the few boxes we had, already packed with the first of the books. And then a bad cold and its entangling lethargy. And a knock on the door.
I saw a friend’s van pulled up sideways in front of the house. She’d tried to call, she said, but there’d been no answer. She was standing on the street now and must have seen my look towards the backseat.
“Don’t worry. I didn’t bring the kids.”
Still, I was in no state for a visit and couldn’t quite figure out how to say that. She smiled, looking vibrant and gorgeous as always. She said she’d called my husband at work and he’d told her about my cold. I smiled back weakly. Then she opened her back door and reached inside for the boxes.
“Happy Easter,” she said. “It’s a good time for new things.”
She’s right, of course. New life springs abundant and that makes Easter feel so fitting in a northern climate. I hear that things are a little warmer these days in Jerusalem. Friends who live there have been posting beautiful leafy sunset photos on social media, but here we’re right on the cusp of green and growth and the first real warmth of the year. But change, of course, isn’t all about warming and comfort. It can also be heavy-lifting: difficult and unsettling.
I imagine the disciples in their uneasy post-Easter days, suddenly believing but not understanding, struggling with doubt and faith, practice and new patterns. After the resurrection, everything shifted. They needed to learn again what it would mean to follow God into new places and new ways of being. I imagine them straining to share their gospel while still trying to hold on to the strength that comes from familiarity, tradition and continuity. That tension birthed our own communities of faith and we live in its shadow and light today.
In this season of Eastertide, I am grateful for the I am statements from John’s Gospel. Christ says: I am the bread of life, the light of the world, the door and the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life and the true vine and the way. In each metaphor, he gives us something concrete and familiar to grasp and something more. Each metaphor draws us into a relationship. In the image of the bread, we can consider the sower, the act of harvest, the images of yeast rising, the table and the feast. The shepherd prompts us to ask about the dangers the sheep may face and the nature of the united flock. In this sparse Biblical poetry, there is a deep richness that meets us in our uncertain days.
And while the fact of my own moving house may prove a poor metaphor for all the changes of heart and history that followed Easter, I will tell you that when my friend dropped by with those used moving boxes, I felt shepherded and equipped. I felt seen, met and loved, and my hands and heart were ready for the change ahead.
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